Nicole Clifford runs all-time S.J. #11 in 1,600 as Cherokee girls go 1-4-5 at sectionals!!!

Cherokee senior Nicole Clifford became the 13th South Jersey girl to run sub-5 minutes for 1,600 meters Friday evening at the Bubble.

Clifford led a 1-4-5 finish in the 1,600 at the South Jersey Group 4 sectional race with a 4:58.69.

That’s No. 11 in South Jersey history and No. 4 in Burlington County history, and she did it on a slow, flat track.

That’s fastest by a South Jersey girl indoors since Haddonfield’s Briana Gess ran 4:51.60 at the 2016 Meet of Champions. It’s also No. 3 in New Jersey this year, behind Lilly Shapiro of Colts Neck, who ran an all-time New Jersey No. 2 4:45.39 full mile in Boston Friday evening, and Lindsay Hausman of Kent Place School in Summit, who ran 4:57.01 last month at the Armory.

Freshman Megan Niglio placed 4th in 5:14.96 and sophomore Kerry O’Day was 5th in 5:17.46.

That’s 16 points in one event for the Chiefs.

This was Clifford’s first indoor 1,600 since her freshman year, and her previous indoor PR was 5:31.19 at 2019 sectionals on the same track in Toms River.

Her outdoor PR is 5:07.10 this past spring at Group 4 sectionals at Washington Township.

Niglio’s time was a PR since it was her first lifetime 1,600-meter race. It’s fastest by a South Jersey freshman since Haddonfield’s Allison Colflesh ran 5:13.49 at 2018 states and fastest by a Burlington County freshman in 10 years – since Camille Franklin of Lenape ran 5:07.01 at the 2012 Meet of Champions.

This was also O’Day’s first indoor 1,600. Her lifetime PR was a 5:21.95 last spring at Group 4 sectionals at Washington Township.

Clifford, Niglio and O’Day ran in an unseeded heat because they didn’t have seed times, thanks to cancellations that the Bubble’s recent temporary closing caused.

Kingsway’s Aubrey Pierontoni ran 5:05.01 to win the seeded heat and wound up second overall. 

All-Time South Jersey Indoor Sub-5 List
4:41.52y … Michelle Rowen [Wash. Twp.], 1983
4:49.46y … Erin Donohue [Haddonfield], 2001
4:51.60 … Briana Gess [Haddonfield], 2016
4:53.36 … Lindsey Kane [Washington Twp.], 2014
4:54.58 … Celine Mazzi [Delsea], 2014
4:55.04y … Marielle Hall [Haddonfield], 2010
4:56.1h,y … Ruth Lockbaum [Glassboro], 1985
4:57.12 … Megan Quimby [Lenape], 2015
4:57.72 … Caitlin Orr [Lenape], 2010
4:58.48 … Natalia Ocasio [Lenape], 2010
4:58.69 … Nicole Clifford [Cherokee], 2022
4:59.29 … Julia Despirito [Shawnee], 2014
4:59.39 … Megan Lacy [Cherokee], 2012

All-Time Burlington County List
4:57.12 … Megan Quimby [Lenape], 2015
4:57.72 … Caitlin Orr [Lenape], 2010
4:58.48 … Natalia Ocasio [Lenape], 2010
4:58.69 … Nicole Clifford [Cherokee], 2022
4:59.29 … Julia Despirito [Shawnee], 2014
4:59.39 … Megan Lacy [Cherokee], 2012
5:00.39 … Lisa Burkholder [Cherokee], 2004
5:00.78y … Monica Olkowski [Cherokee], 1990
5:01.86 … Kristen Niedrach [Shawnee], 2012
5:03.97 … Camille Franklin [Lenape], 2014
5:04.48 … Kara Bonner [Shawnee], 2016
5:06.53 … Brittnee Bynoe [Willingboro], 2003
5:07.60 … Miya Johnson [Lenape], 2008
5:08.12 … Shelby Bobbie [Rancocas Valley], 2014
5:08.46 … Casey Doyle [Shawnee], 2008
5:08.7y … Deanna Germano, Shawnee, 1986

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